A Business Traveler’s packing list

March 7, 2012

Packing the right items can make business travelling more comfortable.

Have a look at these items that can make your business journeys a little easier.

1. Back Up Charger(s)

Sometimes, one charger just won’t cut it. If having power for your gadgets is essential, carry both a plug-in charger and one that operates solely on batteries. Sometimes you just can’t scare people away from the airport outlets, after all.

2. Wrinkle-Release Spray

I have an aversion to ironing, so those wrinkle-release sprays are my best travel companion. Spray your clothes and let them hang the night before you need them for best results, and be sure to check the care instructions on your garments before use. These sprays work best for casual clothes–if you have a big meeting or need a crisp suit, you’ll still need to get out the steamer!

3. Back-Up Travel Documents

It seems like a pain in the neck, but if you make copies of all of your important travel documents once (license, passport, green card, etc.) you can store a set permanently in a pocket of your carry-on. Having copies available will save you a world of pain if you lose your identification, particularly when overseas. Leave a set at home, as well.

4. Customer Service Numbers

Keep a set of customer service and emergency contact numbers in your wallet (print them on a business card for easiest storage) in case you find yourself with a dead battery and a delayed or canceled flight

5. USB Memory Stick

Never leave home without a memory stick of some kind. Not only is it great for storing back-up copies of that important presentation, but you can use it to get copies made easily at your hotel’s business center or at a Kinko’s. Look for a version that can attach to your key chain to avoid having one more thing to lose.

Source: businesstravel.about.com

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Business Trip Tips

January 5, 2012

So you’re going on another business trip… but don’t let bad past experiences jade you. Work travel can be a career and personal growth booster. Here’s how.

While the chance to escape from the office environment may be a welcome reprieve, a domestic business trip often brings new challenges and limited relaxation. Yet, proper preparation and time management can maximise business travel benefits. We get advice from Brent Combrink, who owns Cape Town-based company ProMentor, coaching and mentoring executives and entrepreneurs throughout South Africa.

Before you leave
Start your trip on a good note by ensuring that you have attended to all details before you leave. Combrink suggests the following preparation tasks:
• Change office voice mail intros.
• Activate out of office auto-response on email.
• Take your ID book (or passport for international travel) and all travel reference vouchers, including flight, car hire and hotel documents.
• Enjoy special time with family before you leave.
• ensure that all relevant clients have been informed that you will be away.
• Complete all urgent work tasks so that you are not inundated when you return.

Maximise time
Always ensure that you have your laptop with you so that you can work during flight delays and after take-off on flights. Otherwise use this time to unwind as you mentally prepare for the trip ahead.

When it comes to time management, Combrink stresses the importance of scheduling appointments. “When I go on business trips, I ensure my schedule is booked at least a week in advance with back-to-back appointments,” says Combrink. “After hours I visit relatives and associates, or I often work in the evenings.”

Work trips can also be a way of expanding your client base. “Schedule as many sales appointments as you can around existing client appointments, even if that means doing coffee at 7pm,” suggests Combrink. “You can also reconnect with past colleagues to keep the network healthy.”

Claiming back expenses
If you’re not a business trip veteran, investigate what expenses you can claim back from your company. According to Combrink, you should generally claim for any expenses you may not have incurred had you not been on a business trip. These include dinners, parking expenses, airport transfers, and so on. While it is a good idea to keep slips, SARS allows a tax-free R240* “subsistence allowance” per night out of town for domestic travel without needing proof of payment vouchers.

Ensuring success
Combrink provides the following tips to make your business trip a successful one:
• Have a checklist for items you need to pack.
• Have everything (travel, accommodation, appointments) booked well in advance.
• Cover your risks: get travel insurance for big trips. When clients finance your trip, have written agreements that they either pay for the travel directly (avoids impact on cashflow for contractors and small businesses) or ensure that the client is liable for trips that they need to move or cancel.
• Have a good support structure for whatever needs to happen back home, whether it’s a reliable, self-managing PA at the office or someone to take care of things at your house.
• Mix business and pleasure; make time for sightseeing or enjoying something unique in the town that you can’t do at home.

This article was written by Gillian Bloch

Source: destinyconnect.com


A Business Traveler’s packing list

October 13, 2011

Packing the right items can make business travelling more comfortable.

Have a look at these items that can make your business journeys a little easier.

1. Back Up Charger(s)

Sometimes, one charger just won’t cut it. If having power for your gadgets is essential, carry both a plug-in charger and one that operates solely on batteries. Sometimes you just can’t scare people away from the airport outlets, after all.

2. Wrinkle-Release Spray

I have an aversion to ironing, so those wrinkle-release sprays are my best travel companion. Spray your clothes and let them hang the night before you need them for best results, and be sure to check the care instructions on your garments before use. These sprays work best for casual clothes–if you have a big meeting or need a crisp suit, you’ll still need to get out the steamer!

3. Back-Up Travel Documents

It seems like a pain in the neck, but if you make copies of all of your important travel documents once (license, passport, green card, etc.) you can store a set permanently in a pocket of your carry-on. Having copies available will save you a world of pain if you lose your identification, particularly when overseas. Leave a set at home, as well.

4. Customer Service Numbers

Keep a set of customer service and emergency contact numbers in your wallet (print them on a business card for easiest storage) in case you find yourself with a dead battery and a delayed or canceled flight

5. USB Memory Stick

Never leave home without a memory stick of some kind. Not only is it great for storing back-up copies of that important presentation, but you can use it to get copies made easily at your hotel’s business center or at a Kinko’s. Look for a version that can attach to your key chain to avoid having one more thing to lose.

Source: businesstravel.about.com


Business Travel- Tips for Productivity

September 19, 2011

Business Travel can sometimes be frustrating as work-hours and productivity is reduced. Here are a few handy tips.

The best business travel tips for productivity are to pack gadgets that reduce transit between destinations and all of the office electronics necessary to conduct business from the road. Frequent business travellers know how difficult it can be to maintain productivity on the road. If you travel a lot, you need mobile capabilities that give you office functionality even from the road.

Get a Phone with Web and E-mail Capabilities

Probably the number one way to improve your productivity when travelling for business is to have a good phone with Web and email services. For added productivity and a mobile office all-in-one, consider a PDA phone.

PDA phones are the best choice if you do a lot of business travelling, as a PDA phone can send and receive emails, store contact phone numbers and information and even serve as an organizer for all your events and appointments. Popular PDA phones include the Apple iPhone, which also serves as an MP3 and multimedia player, the Moto Q by Motorola, and the traditional BlackBerry, one of the oldest names in PDA phones.

Bring Your Laptop

Opinion is mixed among business travellers whether or not to bring laptops. Some business travellers only bring laptops on long trips but not short ones, while others always bring them and a few business travellers never bring a laptop.

As great as PDA phones are, it can be annoying to try to type lengthy emails on them, and you may find yourself missing your laptop when replying to emails. Beyond that, though, your laptop contains important files that you might need to access at a moment’s notice while travelling. Now that some airlines are beginning to offer Wi-Fi access on flights, bringing the laptop along can increase productivity exponentially as you make use of the formerly -lost’ hours of the airline flight.

If you bring your laptop on business trips frequently, you should consider the size of your laptop. Many standard business laptops are -desktop replacement’ models, more focused on performance than size. Frequent business travellers benefit from smaller, more mobile laptops, which often come with a higher price tag due to the size.

If you’re shopping for a new laptop, look for something under six pounds and in the 11-inch screen-size range. These smaller laptops may require some adjustment for regular use, but you’ll be happy you got one when you’re juggling your laptop, a briefcase full of documents, your carry-on bag and your luggage through endless airport corridors.

Consider WiFi vs. Mobile Broadband

One of the biggest difficulties of bringing a laptop along for a business trip can be finding WiFi connectivity. Many hotels now offer WiFi or wired Internet access, but it’s always possible that you’ll find yourself in one that doesn’t. If that’s the case, you could spend hours hunting for a spot with WiFi. If you find yourself frequently traveling to destinations where it’s difficult to find WiFi access, consider getting mobile broadband.

All of the major cell phone providers offer wireless broadband devices in the form of USB modems, PCMICA modems or Bluetooth devices that enable your laptop to connect to the Internet through your cell phone provider. If you choose to get a mobile broadband device, be sure to get an unlimited data plan from the cell phone provider as it’s all too easy to go over the low monthly limits, and overage charges for Internet service are astronomical.

Don’t Forget the Chargers

This one seems obvious, but any frequent business traveller has a story about arriving at a destination without a cell phone or laptop cord, and then running around an unfamiliar city trying to find a replacement. Don’t put yourself in this position. The easiest way to ensure that you always have your chargers and cords is to buy a duplicate of every single cord you need, and leave it packed with your business travel gear. That way you’re not always scrambling to find cords at the last minute while packing, and if you leave those duplicate cords packed, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting one.

Keep in mind that if you’re travelling internationally, you may need a conversion kit for your electronics. Some international destinations use different voltages, so you’ll need a voltage transformer to keep the voltage difference from frying your delicate electronics. Other international destinations simply use different plug types, so you’ll just need an adaptor to convert your plug to the country standard. Know whether your international conversion kit is just an adaptor, or whether it converts voltage to safe levels for your electronics.

Travel with GPS

If you’re trying to navigate an unfamiliar city, a GPS unit will ensure that you’ll get to your meeting, even if you miss a turn. The GPS unit will recalculate your route and give you revised directions based on your current location, no matter where you are. A GPS unit is absolutely invaluable if you’re trying to navigate Boston, for example-a city notorious for twisted roads and poor street signage.

GPS units pack easily into your luggage and you can set them up in your rental car when you arrive at your destination and be ready to go. Some GPS units only offer mapping services, while more advanced GPS units include the option to download waypoints for local attractions and restaurants. To maximize GPS productivity, look for a GPS unit with a traffic receiver accessory to give you the most recent updates on your route.

Source: life123.com


Tips on Property Investment in South Africa

September 2, 2011

Are you looking to make a property investment in South Africa and need some help so that you can make an informed decision? Here are a few tips that you can use –

Research South African property market 

One of the best places to search for properties these days is the Internet. There are some excellent websites online that you can use to find different types of properties for sale in South Africa. Not only this, these websites also offer tools that enable you to compare different properties based on their size and price. So, you can use these websites to look for best bargains.

Find out why the current owner wants to sell

Take some time to find out the reasons for which the current owner wants to sell the property. If the owner urgently needs money or they are moving out of the city or if they have already bought another property, you may be in a condition to negotiate the price to make it lower.

Avoid going to overpriced properties

When you do your research, make sure to rule out overpriced properties located in same area. It is usually very difficult to negotiate on a lower price when the current owners want a higher value for their properties. However, if you want to go for such a property, it is better that you wait for a month or two. And, if the property fails to sell during this period, you can contact the owners to negotiate and lower down the sale prices.

Source: siriusproperty.com


Business Travel Tips

August 16, 2011

So you’re going on another business trip… but don’t let bad past experiences jade you. Work travel can be a career and personal growth booster. Here’s how…

While the chance to escape from the office environment may be a welcome reprieve, a domestic business trip often brings new challenges and limited relaxation. Yet, proper preparation and time management can maximise business travel benefits. In a recent article Brent Combrink gives advice. He owns Cape Town-based company ProMentor, coaching and mentoring executives and entrepreneurs throughout South Africa.

Before you leave
Start your trip on a good note by ensuring that you have attended to all details before you leave. Combrink suggests the following preparation tasks:

-Change office voice mail intros.
– Activate out of office auto-response on email.
-Take your ID book (or passport for international travel) and all travel reference vouchers, including flight, car hire and hotel documents.
– Enjoy special time with family before you leave.
– Ensure that all relevant clients have been informed that you will be away.
– Complete all urgent work tasks so that you are not inundated when you return.

Maximise time
Always ensure that you have your laptop with you so that you can work during flight delays and after take-off on flights. Otherwise use this time to unwind as you mentally prepare for the trip ahead.

When it comes to time management, Combrink stresses the importance of scheduling appointments. “When I go on business trips, I ensure my schedule is booked at least a week in advance with back-to-back appointments,” says Combrink. “After hours I visit relatives and associates, or I often work in the evenings.”

Work trips can also be a way of expanding your client base. “Schedule as many sales appointments as you can around existing client appointments, even if that means doing coffee at 7pm,” suggests Combrink. “You can also reconnect with past colleagues to keep the network healthy.”

Claiming back expenses
If you’re not a business trip veteran, investigate what expenses you can claim back from your company. According to Combrink, you should generally claim for any expenses you may not have incurred had you not been on a business trip. These include dinners, parking expenses, airport transfers, and so on. While it is a good idea to keep slips, SARS allows a tax-free R240* “subsistence allowance” per night out of town for domestic travel without needing proof of payment vouchers.

Ensuring success
Combrink provides the following tips to make your business trip a successful one:
– Have a checklist for items you need to pack.
– Have everything (travel, accommodation, appointments) booked well in advance.
– Cover your risks: get travel insurance for big trips. When clients finance your trip, have written agreements that they either pay for the travel directly (avoids impact on cashflow for contractors and small businesses) or ensure that the client is liable for trips that they need to move or cancel.
– Have a good support structure for whatever needs to happen back home, whether it’s a reliable, self-managing PA at the office or someone to take care of things at your house.
– Mix business and pleasure; make time for sightseeing or enjoying something unique in the town that you can’t do at home.

Source: destinyconnect.com

 


How do I invest in gold ?

July 20, 2011

Here are key facts about the market and different ways to invest in the precious metal.

  • Spot markets

Large buyers and institutional investors generally buy the metal from big banks. London is the hub of the global spot gold market, with more than $33bn in trades passing through the city’s clearing system each day. To avoid cost and security risks, bullion is not usually physically moved and deals are cleared through paper transfers.

Other significant markets for physical gold are India, China, the Middle East, Singapore, Turkey, Italy and the United States.

  • Futures markets

Investors can also enter the market via futures exchanges, where people trade in contracts to buy or sell a particular commodity at a fixed price on a certain future date.

The COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange is the world’s largest gold futures market in terms of trading volume. The Tokyo Commodity exchange, popularly known as TOCOM, is the most important futures market in Asia.

China launched its first gold futures contract on January 9 2008. Several other countries, including India, Dubai and Turkey, have also launched futures exchanges.

  • Exchange-traded funds

Media coverage of high gold prices has also attracted investments into exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which issue securities backed by physical metal and allow people to gain exposure to the underlying gold prices without taking delivery of the metal itself.

Gold held in New York’s SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed ETF, rose to a record high of 1 320.436 tonnes in June 2010. The ETF’s holdings are equivalent to nearly half of global annual mine supply and are worth about $62bn at today’s prices.

Other gold ETFs include iShares COMEX Gold Trust , ETF Securities’ Gold Bullion Securities and ETFS Physical Gold, and Zurich Cantonal Bank’s Physical Gold.

  • Bars and coins

Retail investors can buy gold from metals traders selling bars and coins in specialist shops or on the internet. They pay a premium for investment products of 5% to 20% above spot prices, depending on the size of the product and the weight of demand.

Read more on news24.com